Also published on this date: Wednesday, June 14, 2023: Maximum Shelf: Death Valley

Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, June 14, 2023


Holiday House: Ros Demir Is Not the One by Leyla Brittan

HarperAlley: I Shall Never Fall In Love by Hari Conner

W. W. Norton & Company to Sell and Distribute Yale University Press and Harvard University Press

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

News

Napa Bookmine, Napa, Calif., Reopens in New Location

Napa Bookmine has reopened in its new home at 1625 Second St. in downtown Napa, Calif. 

Store owner Naomi Chamblin and her team welcomed customers into the new space for the first time on June 12 and celebrated the reopening with an event that night featuring Greg King, author of The Ghost Forest. The store's new home has a cafe complete with baked goods, pastries, beverages and more.

"The moment has arrived," Chamblin wrote in a message to customers announcing the reopening. "Our process of purchasing a commercial space as a small business started 6.5 years ago! It has been a journey and we are so grateful for the opportunity to secure a home for our community bookstore in downtown Napa."

Chamblin noted that the team was "cutting wood for custom fixtures" until 9 p.m. on the 11th and that things are still being organized and sorted out at the new location. The store sells new and used books, and buybacks will be on hiatus, with the exception of current fiction, until July 1 as the team gets the "back of house and front of house" in order. Special orders are now being handled at this location.

Prior to the move, Napa Bookmine resided at 964 Pearl St. Its final day of business in that space was June 6. The store has additional locations in the Oxbow Public Market in Napa and in St. Helena, Calif., about 30 minutes north.


 Treasure Books, Inc.: There's Treasure Inside by Jon Collins-Black


Scuppernong Books Co-Owner Shannon Jones to Step Down

Shannon Jones

Shannon Jones will be stepping away from her role as co-owner, with Steve Mitchell and Brian Lampkin, of Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, N.C., at the end of the summer. Jones and her husband, Darren Jones, purchased former co-owners Dave and Deb White's interest in the business in 2021.

In a message to customers this week about her decision, Jones wrote that when she first came to Greensboro nine years ago, she "had no idea where my life was headed when I walked into this funky new bookstore that had just opened up on Elm Street. I never expected when I started haunting the cafe tables that Brian and Steve would offer me a job, because who in their right mind offers a job to someone three months pregnant? But that's the kind of people they are: endlessly generous, and understanding of the fact that sometimes life is messy.

"I certainly never imagined that Scuppernong Books would become my home, but in the years since that day that's what you've all become--my home, my community.... When I came on as a co-owner, it was my intention to see Scuppernong Books into the future for years to come. But intentions, like life, can be messy things. They don't always work out in the ways we think they will. At the end of this summer I will be stepping away from working in the bookstore. This has been a long, difficult decision for me and my family, but despite the heartache that comes with it I know it's the right one. I hope to continue to support Scuppernong and the community we've built here in other ways moving forward, and I know the store remains in more than capable hands."

Lampkin said, "We worked side-by-side for these past nine years. We did what we could for each other's families through the noroviruses and Covid issues and other medical crises. It's hard to find people who you can trust with all of the ways things can go wrong at an independent bookstore. Shannon will leave us a better bookstore than she found and we'll try to carry on without her. Wish us luck."

Mitchell added: "When Shannon moved to the other side of the counter, from customer to bookseller, we were still a baby store, more idea than anything. She has been instrumental in Scuppernong becoming the store we are. She has the love and excitement for books I hope to see when I enter an independent bookstore, and a broad area of interest to match.

"Over the years, Shannon has challenged our ideas of what a bookstore could be and how it might support different communities. Those challenges are necessary for an organization to grow. We'll miss her perspective, her humor, her proficiency with tools, her wide range of interests, her fresh vegetables. She will leave a gap that probably won't be fully filled."


Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!


Grand Opening Set for B&N in Reston, Va.

Barnes & Noble's store in the Spectrum at Reston Town Center, Reston, Va., will officially open tomorrow, June 15, with author Tania James cutting the ribbon and signing copies of her newest novel, Loot (Knopf). The new location is nearly 28,000 square feet and includes a B&N Café. B&N noted that the company is returning to the same shopping center it had anchored more than a decade ago before closing in 2012.


Buzz Books Romance Editors Panel Set for July 12

Publishers Lunch and the American Booksellers Association are hosting a virtual Buzz Books Romance Editors Panel at 6 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, July 12.

Authors Opal Wei (Wild Life), Rosie Danan (Do Your Worst), Mary Jo Putney (Silver Lady), and Kacen Callender (Stars in Your Eyes) will discuss their upcoming books with their respective editors.

Registration is free, and the first 15 booksellers to do so will receive galleys of the featured books.


Obituary Note: Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy
(photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

Cormac McCarthy, "the formidable and reclusive writer of Appalachia and the American Southwest, whose raggedly ornate early novels about misfits and grotesques gave way to the lush taciturnity of All the Pretty Horses and the apocalyptic minimalism of The Road," died June 13, the New York Times reported. He was 89. His death was confirmed via a statement from his publisher, Knopf.

"Cormac McCarthy changed the course of literature," said Nihar Malaviya, CEO of Penguin Random House. "For 60 years, he demonstrated an unwavering dedication to his craft, and to exploring the infinite possibilities and power of the written word. Millions of readers around the world embraced his characters, his mythic themes, and the intimate emotional truths he laid bare on every page, in brilliant novels that will remain both timely and timeless, for generations to come."

McCarthy's characters "were outsiders, like him. He lived quietly and determinately outside the literary mainstream," the Times wrote. "While not quite as reclusive as Thomas Pynchon, Mr. McCarthy gave no readings and no blurbs for the jackets of other writers' books. He never committed journalism or taught writing. He granted only a handful of interviews."

His first four novels--The Orchard Keeper (1965), Outer Dark (1968), Child of God (1973), and Suttree (1979)--"are bleak fables, set in the Appalachian South, related in tangled prose that owes an acknowledged debt to William Faulkner. Indeed, the editor of Mr. McCarthy's first five books, Albert Erskine of Random House, had been Faulkner's last editor," the Times noted. After Erskine's retirement, McCarthy moved from Random House to Knopf and acquired a new editor, Gary Fisketjon, who also worked with Raymond Carver, Richard Ford and Tobias Wolff, among others. 

Critic Harold Bloom named McCarthy one of the four major American novelists of his time, alongside Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, and Thomas Pynchon, and called Blood Meridian (1985) "the greatest single book since Faulkner's As I Lay Dying."

A mainstream readership found McCarthy with his 1992 National Book Award-winning novel All the Pretty Horses, the first volume of his Border Trilogy--with The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998), all set in the Southwest. His post-apocalyptic novel The Road won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Both were adapted into films, as was No Country for Old Men, which won the Academy Award for best picture in 2008. In recent years, McCarthy's name came up annually as a potential winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

He also wrote occasionally for film and television, the Washington Post noted. One of his unsold screenplays inspired the Border Trilogy. Another evolved into his novel No Country for Old Men. He wrote the screenplay for the Ridley Scott film The Counselor (2013), as well as two plays, The Stonemason (first performed in 1995) and The Sunset Limited (2006), which he adapted into an HBO movie. 

By the early 2000s, McCarthy was spending much of his time at the Santa Fe Institute, "where he served as a kind of artist-in-residence, chatting with researchers and helping edit their work for publication," the Post wrote. His scientific interests influenced his last two books, The Passenger and Stella Maris, intertwined novels published within weeks of each other in 2022. Both works drew praise from critics for the way McCarthy traded "his usual mythic characters for more ordinary-seeming people, including what for him was a rare female protagonist."

At Third Place Books, Seattle

"McCarthy was, if not our greatest novelist, certainly our greatest stylist," J.T. Barbarese, a professor of English and writing at Rutgers University, told NPR: "The obsession not only with the origins of evil, but also history. And those two themes intersect again and again and again in McCarthy's writing."

Many tributes to McCarthy have been appearing on social media since his death, including tweets by authors Stephen King ("Cormac McCarthy, maybe the greatest American novelist of my time, has passed away at 89. He was full of years and created a fine body of work, but I still mourn his passing.") and Robert Macfarlane ("Ah... Cormac McCarthy has died today. A giant of a writer, who wrote with a pen of iron, torqued language into new forms & worked the rhythms of prose into wire-flashes of lightning & great rolls of thunder.").

Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris, France, tweeted: "Few writers pass into legend during their lifetimes. Cormac McCarthy did. A true great. RIP."


Notes

Image of the Day: Pretty in Pink for Hilderbrand

Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., hosted Elin Hilderbrand for an event for her new novel, The Five-Star Weekend (Little, Brown)Nearly 300 fans donned pink and green (the chosen colors for the event) and lined Water Street to meet the author, snap a photo, and pick up a signed copy of the book.


S&S to Distribute Mattel Press, American Girl

Simon & Schuster will handle sales and distribution of the Mattel Press imprint and the American Girl Publishing imprint to the U.S. and Canada, effective July 1. The Mattel Press imprint will complement content, support brand initiatives, and create new stories based on long-established Mattel franchises including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends, Monster High, Polly Pocket, Barney, and more. These include books, e-books, and audiobooks.

"We have seen firsthand the immense value in providing fans of our franchises with multiple avenues to further engage with their favorite Mattel brands, characters, storylines and worlds," said Josh Silverman, CFO and global head of consumer products at Mattel. "In launching our own publishing imprint, we simultaneously unlock limitless exploration for kids while continuing to realize the full value of our IP. We are thrilled to announce the best-in-class Simon & Schuster as our partner in this exciting and growing area of Mattel."


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

At Sourcebooks:

Andy Augusto has joined the company as international sales director.

Lismarie Cuevas has joined the company as international sales coordinator.

Cecilia Petee has joined the company as custom sales coordinator.


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Santi Elijah Holley on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air: Santi Elijah Holley, author of An Amerikan Family: The Shakurs and the Nation They Created (Mariner Books, $32.50, 9780358588764).

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Jordan Hughes, author of Twist: Your Guide to Creating Inspired Craft Cocktails (Page Street, $23.99, 9781645676485).


On Stage: The Little Big Things Musical

Linzi Hateley and Alasdair Harvey have joined the cast of the new British musical The Little Big Things, based on the 2017 memoir by Henry Fraser. Playbill reported that Luke Sheppard (& Juliet) will direct the production, which begins previews September 2 prior to an official opening September 14 at @sohoplace in London. Performances are currently scheduled through November 25.

The cast also includes Ed Larkin as Man Henry Fraser and Jonny Amies as Boy Henry Fraser, along with Linzi Hateley, Alasdair Harvey, Fran Fraser, and Andrew Fraser. Additional casting will be announced. The Little Big Things has music by Nick Butcher (Loved Before), lyrics by Butcher and Tom Ling (Techies: The Musical), and a book by Joe White (Blackout Songs).



Books & Authors

Awards: Hayek Winner; Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Longlist

The Price of Time: The Real Story of Interest by Edward Chancellor (Grove Atlantic) has won the $50,000 2023 Hayek Book Prize, sponsored by the Manhattan Institute.

The Price of Time traces the history of interest from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia, through debates about usury in Restoration Britain and John Law's ill-fated Mississippi scheme, to the global credit booms of the 21st century.

Jury chair John Tierney said, "The Price of Time is both an erudite history and a remarkably prescient guide to the financial crises in today's headlines. In lively and lucid prose, Chancellor explains how the manipulation of interest rates has destabilized banks and the rest of the economy. Invoking Hayek's long-neglected monetary theories and warnings, he shows how recent policies have encouraged reckless speculation, stifled productive investments, worsened income inequality, and fueled the populist anger that threatens capitalism and democracy."

---

A longlist has been released for the 2023 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award, which celebrates storytelling in all genres and is awarded annually to "a compelling novel with brilliant characterization and a distinct voice that is confidently written and assuredly realized." The shortlist will be unveiled July 27. The winner, who receives £2,000 (about $2,500) and a handmade glass bell, £2,000 and a beautiful, handmade glass bell, will be named September 28. This year's longlisted titles are:

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo 
The Leviathan by Rosie Andrews
Metronome by Tom Watson 
The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk
The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi
Wahala by Nikki May 
Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka
Pandora by Susan Stokes Chapman
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Trust by Hernan Diaz
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid.


Reading with... Rita Chang-Eppig

photo: Lily Dong Photography

Rita Chang-Eppig received her MFA from New York University. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories 2021, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Conjunctions, Clarkesworld, Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies at San Jose State University. Her debut novel, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea (Bloomsbury, May 30, 2023), is about a legendary pirate queen of China.

Handsell readers your book in approximately 25 words or less:

Based on the life of a legendary pirate queen, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea follows Shek Yeung's rise from peasant to commander of the most powerful fleet in China.

On your nightstand now:

Vajra Chandrasekera's The Saint of Bright Doors. I read a short story of his a while back and went from not knowing who he was to devoted fan in the span of approximately 20 pages. He is such an intellectual writer, and his prose sings. When I heard he had a novel coming out, I immediately preordered a copy. And then, because I am bad at delayed gratification, I also contacted him and begged for a galley. He was kind enough to send me one.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Mary Poppins books before I realized they were racist. Sometimes I wonder about the nice librarian who recommended those books to me. I also read all those Goosebumps books, even though I was (and am) a complete chicken. I'd borrow maybe three books at once from the library, read them over the span of two days, and then spend the rest of the week unable to sleep. So on top of being bad at delayed gratification, I'm apparently also bad at impulse control.

Your top five authors:

This is an impossible question, so let's go with the ones I loved most when I first started writing and, therefore, probably influenced my writing the most: Shirley Jackson, Gabriel García Márquez, Angela Carter, Toni Morrison, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Book you've faked reading:

I, uh, still haven't read Moby-Dick. At this point I don't even feel that bad about it anymore.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Yōko Ogawa's collection of short stories, Revenge. (Caveat: I read the edition translated by Stephen Snyder, but I don't speak Japanese, so I can't comment on how faithful the translation is to the original.) Ogawa is primarily known for her novels The Housekeeper and the Professor and The Memory Police (understandably, as both are great books), but I love a creepy, surreal short story collection, and I don't think Revenge gets talked about enough when people talk about slipstream collections. (I'm using slipstream here for lack of a better label.) Each story builds beautifully upon the one before it and lingers in your mind for a long time.  

Book you've bought for the cover:

I'd heard good things about Elaine Hsieh Chou's Disorientation, but the cover really sold it for me. I believe she reached out to artists Aleia Murawski and Sam Copeland. The bright pink is eye-catching, sure, but there's also something subversive about it. It's a slightly sickly, Pepto-Bismol pink, hinting that something is wrong, even if that something is just the main character's ongoing dyspepsia. Each of the items strewn about the room also ties well into an element of the book.  

Book you hid from your parents:

None, actually. A blessing and curse of growing up in a household in which you read a language different from your parents is that there is virtually no oversight in terms of what you read. Obviously, I couldn't bring home romance novels with ripped bodices on the cover, but I also wasn't very interested in those. So as a young teen, I was reading a lot of Anne Rice novels, with all their eroticism and murder and contemplations of mortality. But I don't know, I think I turned out okay.  

Book that changed your life:

I first read Lee A. Tonouchi's Da Word in college, and it completely upended everything I thought I knew about Serious Literature. My lit classes up to that point had very much inculcated in me this belief in the existence of "good" or "proper" English. Of course, what's considered "good" is greatly influenced by race, class, etc. Tonouchi, a pidgin activist, wrote Da Word in pidgin. Reading it not only expanded my sense of what writing and language could be, but also enlightened me on cultural-linguistic hegemony.

Favorite line from a book:

The opening line from Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, "Nuns go by as quiet as lust, and drunken men and sober eyes sing in the lobby of the Greek hotel." That one little phrase "Nuns go by as quiet as lust" taught me approximately 90% of what I needed to know about writing a good simile.

Five books you'll never part with:

I don't understand. Why would you part with a book? You collect books until your study is full and your partner yells at you to "stop buying physical books already because we might need to move soon, and also I refuse to build more IKEA bookcases."

But here are five authors/books I haven't mentioned yet: Ken Liu's The Paper Menagerie, Karen Russell's Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Jeanette Winterson's The Passion, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, and Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Mariana Enríquez's Things We Lost in the Fire. It is the perfect short story collection--I will fight anyone who disagrees. But the "problem" with horror writing is that once you know what's going to happen, it becomes less scary, at least for me. Don't get me wrong, I continually reread those stories because they have so much to teach me about mood, setting, description, and so forth, but the fear factor is gone. It would be nice to read it again for the first time.


Book Review

Children's Review: Ghost Book

Ghost Book by Remy Lai (Holt, $14.99 paperback, 320p., ages 8-12, 9781250810434, August 15, 2023)

Remy Lai, the author of Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall, found inspiration for her wonderfully atmospheric graphic novel Ghost Book in the Chinese festival that pays homage to the deceased.

Although July Chen can see ghosts, she is basically a nobody. People don't remember her name, don't recognize that she is their classmate, and don't talk to her. It makes sense, then, that a ghost becomes her first true friend. It's the seventh month of the lunar calendar, Hungry Ghost month, and the Gates of the Underworld are open, allowing the dead to walk among the living. July, who steadfastly ignores the ghosts around her, sees a Hungry Ghost trying to consume ghost boy William Xiao. The girl saves him, and the 12-year-olds form a bond. But William isn't exactly dead--his body is in a coma from an accident and his soul, connected to his body by a red thread, is wandering. "I don't know why, but I can't return to my body," he tells July. "My soul won't stick to it."

July wants to save William but must first outsmart Oxhead and Horseface, the undead servants of the King of the Underworld, who are "determined to kill" the boy. She learns, too, that her very existence is intertwined with William's. July evaded death as an infant and only one of the two children was supposed to survive--"inevitably the universe will find a way to maintain the balance of births and deaths." By saving William, she might endanger herself.

Lai imbues her otherworldly adventure with humor, compassion, wisdom, and ingenuity, and her blend of myth and contemporary fantasy adds intrigue to the captivating plot. Character development adds depth, featuring villains with a chilling indifference to life and death, and underdogs who are truly worth rooting for. In Lai's classic, comic-style art, her depiction of ghosts as glowing, inhuman figures creates an obvious distinction between the living and the dead that adds a layer of creepiness to the story, but also a reassuring playfulness. Ghost Book expertly balances eerie ghoulishness with lighthearted fun for a memorable middle-grade adventure. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Shelf Talker: A girl with the power to see the dead sets out to save a wandering soul in an inspiring story of friendship, fate, and hungry ghosts.


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